Hour of Code will teach kids how to create technology

Initiative geared toward children and students, but anyone is invited to take part.

Computer code and an Israeli flag (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Computer code and an Israeli flag
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The Hour of Code is a global event that has been teaching students to write computer code and programming skills for the past six years. This year’s Hour of Code will be held on December 8, and will kick off a week of events all over the world and all over Israel.
Some 100,000,000 people in 180 countries have participated in Hour of Code events. It is geared toward children and students, but anyone who wants to learn is invited to take part. Last year, 60,000 children participated in events all over Israel, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat and everywhere in between.
This year, the theme is “To Program a Better World,” focusing on the ways technology and computer science can improve life. In a promotional video, computer scientists describe different ways technology can help change the world, including creating more flexible and durable prosthetic devices to help people walk, using games to improve brain function and measure brain activity, growing more nutritious food, preventing bees from becoming extinct and much more.
Hour of Code is a global initiative of Code.org, a nonprofit organization that promotes the message that every child can learn to program and create using technology.
Such high-profile names as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and former president Barack Obama have taken part in previous events.
“We’re starting too late when it comes to making sure our young people are familiar not just with how to play a video game, but how to create a video game,” said Obama in 2014, as he received a certificate that he had completed the Hour of Code course.
Wix, the leader of the Code Hour Initiative in Israel, has launched a Hebrew-language website for programming and learning activities. This year the activities available to event organizers will include a unique activity developed together with SpaceIL, where children can write code and program Genesis 2’s journey into space. In addition, the site includes an “Organizer Guide” designed for educators and parents who want to join the initiative and organize events within the Code Hour and add them to the list of events taking place across the country.
The overarching concept of the initiative is that in the 21st century the education system should teach children to create using technology and not just consume it. Recently, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also announced that for the first time, the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) 2021 study will include aspects of computational thinking and a questionnaire to examine students’ ability to write a computer program. The PISA 2021 study will be the first to explore how states incorporate computer science into their curricula.
“The State of Israel is not only a ‘Hi-Tech Nation’ but also an ‘Impact Nation’ – a place where anyone with a little curiosity, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of the language of technology can create a better future for themselves and the world,” said Yossi Hayut, head of Educational Innovation at Wix, who is leading the initiative in Israel said. “I am pleased to see that more and more schools, universities, municipalities, social organizations and hi-tech companies are joining the initiative, and I believe that together with them we can lead to significant and real change.”
Hadi Partovi, CEO and founder of Code.org and the Code Hour movement, welcomed Israel’s participation in the initiative.
“The importance of learning computer science and programming in the education system is not just about preparing students for the future employment market, but being able to inspire them to initiate and create innovative technological solutions,” said Partovi.
To participate in Code Hour events, see https://www.hourofcode.co.il/ For the US site, see  https://hourofcode.com/us